RIP Sir Ian Holm

#RIP: we are saddened to report the passing of British actor Sir Ian Holm at the age of 88. He played old Bilbo Baggins in #TheHobbit film saga (#AnUnexpectedJourney & #TheBattleOfTheFiveArmies) and #TheLordOfTheRings film saga (#TheFellowshipOfTheRing & #TheReturnOfTheKing); Father Vito Cornelius in #TheFifthElement; Napoleon in #TimeBandits; Ash in #Alien; Terry Rapson in #TheDayAfterTomorrow; Jonas Muller (voice) in #Renaissance; Skinner (voice) in #Ratatouille; Sirius / Boris / the Devil in #SimonMagus; Naville in #ALifeLessOrdinary; Walter Bailiff in #LochNess; Pod in #TheBorrowers (miniseries); Dr. Murnau in #Kafka; Reverend Charles L. Dodgson / Lewis Carroll in #Dreamchild; Mr. Kurtzmann in #Brazil; Puck in #AMidsummerNightsDream; & more.

Our sincerest condolences to his family, friends and fans. May he rest in peace.

Ian Holm

Ian Holm (1931-2020)

References

RIP Malcolm Dixon

#RIP: actor Malcolm Dixon has died at the age of 66. Born in Sept., 1953 (his exact birthdate is unknown), he played Leektar the Ewok Warrior in “#StarWars VI: #ReturnOfTheJedi” (he was also a film extra in “Star Wars IV: #ANewHope), an Oompa Loompa in #WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory, a dwarf in #FlashGordon, Strutter in #TimeBandits, an additional performer in #TheDarkCrystal, Goblin Corps in #Labyrinth, Diddy in #SnowWhite (1987), Nelwyn Band Member in #Willow, & more.

Our condolences to his family, friends and fans. May he rest in peace and may the Force be with him.

Malcolm Dixon

Malcolm Dixon (1953-2020)

References

RIP Lyle Waggoner

#RIP: actor Lyle Waggoner has died at the age of 84. He played Colonel Steve Trevor, Jr. / Major Steve Trevor in #WonderWoman (TV series); mechanical man #1 in #LostInSpace; Xerko in #MorkAndMindy; Al / Gilberto DeVincenzo / Monty in #FantasyIsland; & much more, including 7 years playing multiple characters on the TV variety show #TheCarolBurnettShow.

Our sincerest condolences to his family, friends and fans. May he rest in peace.

Lyle Waggoner

Lyle Waggoner (1935-2020)

References

RIP Max von Sydow

#RIP: we are saddened to report that actor Max von Sydow has died at the age of 90. He played Lor San Tekka in “#StarWarsVII: #TheForceAwakens”, Doctor Kynes in #Dune (1984), Emperor Ming in #FlashGordon (1980), Three-Eyed Raven in #GameOfThrones, King Osric in #CononTheBarbarian (1982), Director Lamar Burgess in #MinorityReport, Judge Fargo in #JudgeDredd, Henry Farber in #UntilTheEndOfTheWorld, Vigo (voice) in “#Ghosbusters II”, Doctor Paul Novotny in the sci-fi / horror film #Dreamscape, uncredited role in #TheIcePirates, & more, including playing Father Merrin in the horror films #TheExorcist & “#Exorcist II: #TheHeretic”.

Our sincerest condolences to his family, friends and fans. May he rest in peace. The Force  will be with him always.

Max von Sydow

Max von Sydow (1929-2020)

References

“Willing Suspension of Disbelief”: When it Works, When it Fails

An immutable requirement that impacts the success of any work of #ScienceFiction or #Fantasy is the audience’s ability to be able to willingly suspend their disbelief, which can be defined as follows:

The willing suspension of disbelief refers to an individual willingly suspending their critical faculties, logic and realism in order to believe something surreal for the sake of enjoyment.

It can also be defined as “a literary term of art referring to one of Aristotle’s principles of theater in which the audience accepts fiction as reality so as to experience a catharsis, or a releasing of tensions to purify the soul.”

Before sci-fi or fantasy were recognized literary genres, poetry and fiction involving the supernatural had gone out of fashion to a large extent in the 18th century, in part due to the declining belief in witches and other supernatural agents among the educated classes in favor of science. However, the poet and aesthetic philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge sought to revive the use of fantastic elements in poetry and developed a concept to support how a modern, enlightened audience might continue to enjoy such types of literature.

In 1817, Coleridge introduced the term “suspension of disbelief” in Biographia Literaria and suggested that if a writer could infuse a “human interest and a semblance of truth” into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgement concerning the implausibility of the narrative. The term resulted from a philosophical experiment, which Coleridge conducted with William Wordsworth within the context of the creation and reading of poetry. It involved an attempt to explain the supernatural persons or characters so that these creatures of imagination constitute some semblance of truth.

Who’s Responsible?

The individual(s) most responsible for enabling and maintaining an audience’s ability to willingly suspend their disbelief is the author(s) or creator of the work. It’s not the responsibility of the audience and any author or creator who fails to understand that isn’t going to have a successful work.

What Allows it Work?

Any creative endeavor is only successful to the extent that the audience offers their willing suspension of disbelief as they read, listen, or watch. It’s part of an unspoken contract: the author or creator provides the audience with a good story; and in return, the audience accepts the reality of the story as presented, as well as the characters in the fictional universe as they seemingly act on their own accord.

But the author or creator has the important responsibility of enabling and maintaining the audience’s ability to willingly suspend their disbelief, and they key to doing this successfully is internal consistency.

Internal consistency means being consistent with itself.

Any rules, events, settings, or characters that have been established within a fictional work (as well as sequel or prequel works) are expected by an audience to continue to exist and function as they did previously, unless otherwise indicated.

What Causes it to Fail?

Suspension of disbelief can be broken when a work breaks its own established laws or asks the audience to put up with too many things that come off as contrived.

A common way of putting this is as follows:

“You can ask an audience to believe the impossible, but not the improbable.”

For example, people will accept that the Grand Mage can use a magic spell to teleport across the world, or that the spaceship has technology that makes it completely invisible without rendering its own sensors blind; but the audience won’t accept that the ferocious carnivore just happened to have a heart attack and die right before it would have killed the main character, or that the hacker guessed his enemy’s password on the first try just by typing random letters.

A respondent to a question posed on the website “stackexchange” wrote an excellent response to the question, “What breaks suspension of disbelief?” in 2011:

“Basically, anything that the reader considers implausible when he’s already suspending disbelief, can spoil the illusion and break that suspension. The key issue to understand is that up to a certain point, your story is exposing the world of the story, and explaining what’s allowed and what isn’t. Anything you establish clearly, the reader will be willing to accept, and suspend disbelief over. Anything implausible that you don’t explain, or suggest can be explained (perhaps later), is not ‘protected’, and can prompt readers to feel that the story is nonsensical or contrived – not in the agreed-upon, ‘protected’ premise, but in the reasonable flow of events and consequences from that premise.”

The respondent then provided some specific cases. We’ll share two of them:

Setting rules are inconsistent or unclear: An SF/F reader will generally be willing to accept bizarre and impossible world constructions, as long as they are internally consistent. But if your stardates don’t match up with each other, or if something impossible turns out to be possible with no real justification, then the reader senses that your rules are arbitrary and that the author does not feel bound by his own rules. The same thing happens if he can’t figure out what your rules are meant to be to begin with. It’s like playing a game somebody invented where he gets to change the rules all the time, and then declare himself the winner if he’s losing anyway.”

Coincidence as a plot development: If anything immensely unlikely happens, it’s best for it to happen at the beginning – as part of the premise. Using coincidence as a plot development can feel contrived – since it’s not really a coincidence, but fiat on the author’s side, the reader can sense that the author is deliberately manipulating the story in implausible, artificial directions, and he loses faith in the plot as being plausible, natural, and thus significant.”

Additional Causes of Failure

Here are some additional causes that can cause an audience to lose their ability to suspend their disbelief.

  • Character derailment. When an established character becomes largely different, exhibiting behavior contrary to what has been previously shown that is not a matter of organic growth. Rather than gradually changing in response to events and experiences, a derailed character will exhibit shockingly unusual behavior that implies malfeasance or incompetence on the part of the writers.
  • Dues ex Machina. A Deus ex Machina is when some new event, character, ability, or object solves a seemingly unsolvable problem in a sudden, unexpected way. It’s often used as the solution to what is called “writing yourself into a corner,” where the problem is so extreme that nothing in the established setting suggests that there is a logical way for the characters to escape. If a bomb is about to go off, someone finds a convenient bomb-proof bunker in easy reach.
  • Fridge Logic. This refers to some illogical or implausible plot point that the audience doesn’t realize during the show, but only long afterwards. This naming is highly subjective, since not every person follows the same train of thought. Some people will never even realize there was a problem, while others will call it a plot hole, since they already noticed the problem during the show. The phrase was technically coined by Alfred Hitchcock. When asked about the scene in “Vertigo” when Madeleine mysteriously, and impossibly, disappears from the hotel that Scottie saw her in, he responded by calling it an “icebox” scene, that is, a scene that “hits you after you’ve gone home and start pulling cold chicken out of the icebox.”
  • Plot Hole. Plot Holes are those gaps in a story where things happen without a logical reason. When a Plot Hole involves something essential to a story’s outcome, it can hurt the believability, for those who are bothered by such things.
  • Retcon. Short for Retroactive Continuity, this is the reframing of past events to serve a current plot need, meaning that the new plot need was not intended from the beginning. A retcon is considered by many to occur when current events contradict the past continuity of the series, and is often evidence of authorial intrusion.

suspension

References

Revised User Rating Demographics on IMDb for “Star Wars”

Since we first posted our analysis of user rating demographics on IMDb for all #StarWars films on Dec. 23, 2019, there has been a change in overall user ratings for “Star Wars IX: #TheRiseOfSkywalker” that we will now share. Namely, the overall user ratings for Ep. IX have dropped and now are in sync with the previously released “Star Wars” film: “#Solo: A Star Wars Story”.

Revised User Rating Demographics on IMDb for "Star Wars"

Revised User Rating Demographics on IMDb for “Star Wars” (Updated on Jan. 2, 2020)

This downward shift for Ep. IX gives the film an overall “D+” rating and places it into the same “D”-rated films as “Star Wars I: #ThePhantomMenace”, “Star Wars II: #AttackOfTheClones” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story”.

Examining Age Demographics More Closely

We also decided to take a closer look at the overall demographics for each film regarding age groups and gender to see if any patterns emerge. The results follow.

Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 3.19.25 PM

Sorry that this chart is a little busy, but some interesting patterns do emerge, though the user ratings per age group also need to take into consideration the age of the IMDb website, the age of the Internet, how many people had Internet access over time, and the age when the voters actually saw the films:

  • Since IMDb was launched on Oct. 17, 1990, it didn’t exist when the original trilogy was released. Hence, all of the user ratings for those films would’ve all occurred at least 7 to 13 years after the films were released; but the vast majority of those user ratings wouldn’t have started to probably accumulate for another 10 years over that. Hence, the age data won’t be based on when the films were released.
  • Only 4.1% of the world’s population was on the Internet when “Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace” was released. This grew to 14.6% when “Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith” was released. 46% of the world’s population had Internet access when “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens” was released, and that number is now 58.8%.
  • The older the films, the more user ratings accumulate over time and the recorded age for each user rating is based on the age of the individual when the user ratings were first recorded. Some individuals may also have changed their user ratings over time and it’s not clear which age would remain: the age of the original user rating or of the most recent user rating.

So we can draw the following conclusions from these data issues:

  • The older the films are, the less likely the age data will reflect the age of the users when they rated the films.
  • The age data is less valid for older films than for newer films.

In spite of these data issues, we can still find some interesting patterns and correspondences.

  • Only those users who are at least 42 years of age were alive when “Star Wars IV: A New Hope” was released. The “45 >” age group most closely represents those who would’ve been able to see this film in theaters; but they would’ve been young children at the low end of this age range.
  • Only those users who are at least 36 years of age were alive when “Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi” was released. Everyone in the “45 >” age group could’ve seen this film in theaters, as well as the upper range of the “30-44” age group. Anyone who saw this film who are currently in the “30-44” age group would’ve been very young children when this film came out; and people in the “45 >” age group would’ve been at least 9 years old.
  • Only those users who are at least 20 years of age were alive when “Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace” was released. Anyone currently in the “30-44” age group would’ve been 10 to 24 years old when this film came out. Anyone currently in the “45 >” age group would’ve been at least 25 when this film came out.
  • Only those users who are at least 14 years of age were alive when “Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith” was released. Anyone currently in the “30-44” age group would’ve been 16 to 30 years old when this film came out. Anyone currently in the “45 >” age group would’ve been at least 31 when this film came out.
  • Since 10 years separate “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens” from “Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith”, anyone who saw the latter film in theaters as children would now be in their late teens or early 20’s now. Those in their 20’s then would be in their 30’s now and those in their 30’s then would be in their 40’s now. Anyone who remembers seeing “Star Wars IV: A New Hope” in 1977 would likely be at least in their 50’s or older now.

In other words, grandparents today who saw the original trilogy in theaters could be taking their grandchildren to see the Disney sequel trilogy. Parents who saw the prequels as children could be taking their children to see the Disney trilogy. And, the people who were parents when the prequels came out would likely have been children themselves when the original trilogy came out.

So what does the age data on IMDb tell us?

  • The people who most love the the first two original trilogy films are either children today or were children when the films first came out. The people in between (who were children when the prequels came out) like these two films slightly less.
  • Males who were young children when Ep. VI came out liked the film more than other male groups: Ewoks. Ewoks don’t appear to have had the same impact with female viewers.
  • Males who were young children to early 20’s when the prequels came out enjoyed them more than other males, including those who were children when the original trilogy came out. For females, the older they get, the less they like the prequels regardless of how old they were when the films came out or weren’t yet born when they came out.
  • For Ep. VII, males who were children when the prequels came out liked the film best, as do all females who are 29 years of age or younger.
  • For Ep. VIII, both males and females who are 29 years of age or younger prefer this film over other age groups, which includes people who were young children when the prequels came out. Males who could’ve seen the original trilogy in theaters also like the film slightly more, but not as much as males 29 years of age and younger.
  • For Ep. IX, the greatest appeal is for both males and females who could’ve seen the original trilogy in theaters. In other words, nostalgia made a difference, but the younger the males, the more likely the disliked the film. Females who could’ve seen the prequels as children liked this film the least among female viewers.

Conclusion

While Disney succeeded in having their sequel trilogy appeal more to female viewers than male viewers overall, they weren’t as successful in building an audience with today’s children, which isn’t necessarily a positive long-term development when combined with the lack of overall appeal for the prequels a generation earlier. As the older generation who grew up with the original trilogy as children dies, the most appealing films continue to be the original trilogy. In other words, none of the Disney sequel trilogy films were able to touch the love that the original trilogy continues to have and has had for several generations.

References

RIP Syd Mead

#RIP: visionary conceptual futurist artist Syd Mead passed away yesterday at the age of 86. He worked in the art departments for a number of #SciFi & #fantasy films, including “#StarTrek: #TheMotionPicture”, #BladeRunner, #Tron, #2010, #Aliens, #Timecop, #MissionToMars, #Elysium, #Tomorrowland, #BladeRunner2049, & more.

Our condolences to his family, friends and fans. May he rest in peace.

Syd Mead

Syd Mead (1933 – 2019)

References

2019 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Artist Deaths

We come again to that time of year when we honor and remember those #SciFi & #Fantasy artists that the world has lost over the past year. 2019 hasn’t been an easy year, as we lost 32 artists, which was more than 2018. While these artists may be gone, their legacies will never be forgotten for generations to come.

Most of the sci-fi & fantasy franchises impacted by these deaths are listed below.

  • A Christmas Carol / Scrooge
  • Airwolf
  • Alf
  • Babylon 5
  • Battle Beyond the Stars
  • Beastmaster
  • Big Fish
  • Bionic Woman
  • The Black Hole
  • Blade Runner
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
  • Charmed
  • Corpse Bride
  • D.C. Comics (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman)
  • Damnation Alley
  • Dark Shadows
  • Delivering Milo
  • Doctor Who
  • Dudes & Dragons
  • Dune
  • Earth 2
  • Earth Final Conflict
  • Excalibur
  • Faerie Tale Theatre
  • Fantasy Island
  • The Fifth Element
  • I Dream of Jeannie
  • Joe 90
  • Knight Rider
  • Krull
  • Logan’s Run
  • Lost in Space
  • Marvel Comics (Incredible Hulk)
  • Men in Black
  • Millennium
  • My Favorite Martian
  • Night Man
  • The People that Time Forgot
  • Planet of the Apes
  • Power Rangers
  • Quantum Leap
  • RoboCop
  • Singularity
  • Six Million Dollar Man
  • Sliders
  • Smallville
  • Space 1999
  • Star Trek
  • Star Wars
  • Stargate SG1
  • THX 1138
  • Time Bandits
  • Thunderbirds
  • True Blood
  • UFO (Gerry Anderson’s)
  • Viper
  • Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
  • Warlords of the Deep
  • Willy Wonka
  • The X-Files

Our condolences to all of the families, friends & fans of the following artists that we lost in 2019.

January

Actor & director James Frawley died at the age of 82 on January 25, 2019. He directed episodes of #Smallville, #Earth2 & #FaerieTaleTheatre. He also played Mr. Frisby in #MyFavoriteMartian, Manolo / Semenev / Smiling Jack in #VoyageToTheBottomOfTheSea, Pvt. Renalto in #TheOuterLimits; & more.

James Frawley

James Frawley (1936-2019)

February

British actor Clive Swift died at the age of 82 on Feb. 1, 2019. He played Jobel / Mr. Cooper in #DoctorWho, Ector in #Excalibur, Tony Doran in #1990, Snug in #AMidsummersNightDream, & much more, including Richard Bucket in the long-running Brit-com #KeepingUpAppearances.

Clive Swift

Clive Swift (1936-2019)

Actor Albert Finney died at the age of 82 on Feb. 8, 2019. He played Ebenezer Scrooge in #Scrooge, Elmore Dahl in #DeliveringMilo, Ed Bloom in #BigFish, Finis Everglot (voice) in #CorpseBride, & much more.

Albert Finney (1936-2019)

Albert Finney (1936-2019)

Actor Jan-Michael Vincent died at the age of 74 on Feb. 10, 2019. He played Stringfellow Hawke in #Airwolf, Tanner in #DamnationAlley, & much more, including playing Steve McKenna in the crime-thriller #TheMechanic with Charles Bronson among his many credits.

Jan-Michael Vincent

Jan-Michael Vincent (1945-2019)

Actor Carmen Argenziano died at the age of 75 on Feb. 11, 2019. He played Gen. Jacob Carter / Selmak in #StargateSG1, Urza Jaddo in #Babylon5, Damien Walsh in #Singularity, Mr. Corleone in #NightMan, King Kusari in #BionicWoman, & much more.

Carmen Argenziano

Carmen Argenziano (1943-2019)

Actor Morgan Woodward died at the age of 93 on Feb. 24, 2019. He played Capt. Tracy / Dr. Simon van Gelder in #StarTrek #TOS, Cayman in #BattleBeyondTheStars, Old Harry Cokely in #TheXFiles, Iron Lung Man in #Millennium, Sheriff Winston in #KnightRider, Uncle Jack / Nick Hall / Tribal Elder / Marshall Victor Grennan in #FantasyIsland, Martin in #PlanetOfTheApes (TV series), Morgan in #LogansRun (TV series), Carlton Tanner in #ProjectUFO, Ben Madrid in #TheIncredibleHulk, & much more.

Morgan Woodward

Morgan Woodward (1925-2019)

March

Actress Katherine Helmond died at the age of 89 on March 2, 2019. She played Mrs. Ogre in #TimeBandits, Caroline Bellefleur in #TrueBlood, Dr. Harkens in #BionicWoman, Laura Walters in #FantasyIsland, & much more, including two well known TV sitcom roles: Jessica Tate in #Soap, and Lois Whelan in #EverybodyLovesRaymond.

Katherine Helmond

Katherine Helmond (1929-2019)

Actor Luke Perry died at the untimely age of 52 on March 4, 2019. He played Billy in #TheFifthElement, Pike in #BuffyTheVampireSlayer, Lorash in #DudesAndDragons, & much more, including his very long run of playing Dylan McCay / Billy McCoy / Peter Brinkley in romance-drama “Beverly Hills, 90210”.

Luke Perry

Luke Perry (1966-2019)

Actor Shane Rimmer has died at the age of 89 on March 29, 2019. Born May 28, 1929, Shane Rimmer voiced the character of Scott Tracy in #Thunderbirds. He also played an InCom Engineer in “#StarWars IV: #ANewHope”, Hogan in #ThePeopleThatTimeForgot, Capt. Daniels in #WarlordsOfTheDeep, Seth Harper in #DoctorWho, an Eagle Pilot / Maintenance Section Voice / James Kelly / Voice of Bannion in #Space1999, a CIA agent / Lt. Bill Johnson / an alien / Seagull X-Ray co-pilot in Gerry Anderson’s #UFO, Older Gotham Water Board Technician in #BatmanBegins, Colonel in #AlienAutopsy, Board Member 1 in #DarkShadows, E. J. Saggs in #SpaceTruckers, Naval Transport Commander in #Superman (1978), Controller #2 in #SupermanII, state policeman in #SupermanIII, voiced several characters in #CaptainScarletAndTheMysterons, voiced several characters in #Joe90, played Rusty / team executive in #Rollerball (1975), played Redneck (Melvin) in #MoronsFromOuterSpace, & much more, including playing Cmdr. Carter in the James Bond movie #TheSpyWhoLovedMe.

Shane Rimmer

Shane Rimmer (1929-2019)

April

#SciFi author Vonda N. McIntyre died on April 1, 2019, at the age of 70. Her works include the following sci-fi novels:

  • “The Exile Waiting” (1975)
  • “Dreamsnake” (1978)
  • “Superluminal” (1983)
  • “The Bride” (1985)
  • “Barbary” (1986)
  • “The Moon and the Sun” (1997)

She also wrote the “Starfarers” series of novels:

  • “Starfarers” (1989)
  • “Transition” (1991)
  • “Metaphase” (1992)
  • “Nautilus” (1994)

She wrote the novelizations for the several #StarTrek movies:

  • “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn” (1982)
  • “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” (1984)
  • “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986)

She also wrote the #StarWars novel “The Crystal Star” (1994). “Fireflood and Other Stories” (1979) is a collection of her short stories.

She won the Nebula Award & was nominated for the Hugo Award for her 1974 short story “Of Mist, Grass and Sand”. She won the Hugo Award & Nebula Award both for Best Novel for “Dreamscape” in 1979. Robert A. Heinlein in part dedicated his novel “Friday” to Vonda in 1982. She won the Nebula Award for her novel “The Moon and the Sun” in 1998.

Vonda N. McIntyr

Vonda N. McIntyr (1948-2019)

Actor Peter Mayhew died at the age of 74 on April 30, 2019. He played the iconic #StarWars character #Chewbacca in the films #ANewHope (Ep. IV, 1977), #TheEmpireStrikesBack (Ep V, 1980), #ReturnOfTheJedi (Ep. VI, 1983) & #RevengeOfTheSith (Ep. III, 2005). He also appeared in the #HolidaySpecial (1978) and voiced Chewbacca in the film #TheForceAwakens (Ep. VII, 2015), as well as voicing Chewbacca in 1 episode of #TheCloneWars. He also appeared as the Minoton in #SinbadAndTheEyeOfTheTiger (1977).

Peter Mayhew

Peter Mayhew (1944-2019)

May

Actor Pua Magasiva died at the age of 38 on May 11, 2019. He played Shane Clarke / Red Wind Ranger in “#PowerRangers Ninja Storm” & “Power Rangers #DinoThunder”; & more.

Pua Magasiva

Pua Magasiva (1980 – 2019)

June

Actress Stephanie Niznik passed away at the age of 52 on June 23, 2019. She played Lt. Peril in “#StarTrek IX: #Insurrection”, the Wraith in #Enterprise; Dr. Evelyn Ariza in #Lost; Lena Weisinger in #Viper; Debra Carbol in #Sliders; & much more, including playing Nina Feeney in 82 episodes of the drama TV series #Everwood.

Stephanie Niznik

Stephanie Niznik (1967-2019)

Actor Max Wright died at the age of 75 on June 26, 2019. Born in 1943, he played the main character Willie Tanner in the long-running TV sitcom #Alf. He also played Robin Starveling in #AMidsummersNightDream (1999), Berger in #TheShadow, Doc Kinman in #QuantumLeap, Prince Heinrick in #FaerieTaleTheatre, Dick Stetmeyer in #MisfitsOfScience, & more.

Max Wright

Max Wright (1943-2019)

July

Actor Rip Torn passed away on July 9, 2019 at the age of 88. He played Zed in #MenInBlack I & II, large headed alien at funeral in “Men in Black III”; Larraby in #Zoom; Maax in #Beastmaster; Bob Diamond in #DefendingYourLife; Bud Kruger in “#Airplane II: The Sequel”; Nathan Bryce in #TheManWhoFellToEarth; the CEO in “#Robocop 3”; & much more.

Rip Torn

Rip Torn (1931-2019)

Actor Freddie Jones died at the age of 91 on July 9, 2019. He played Thufir Hawat in #Dune, Ynyr in #Krull, Dr. Charles Logan in #Space1999, & more, including playing Sandy Thomas in the long-running British TV series #Emmerdale from 2005 to 2018 (for a total of 632 episodes). He also appeared in the drama #TheElephantMan (which received 8 Oscar nominations) and the action-thriller #Firefox.

Freddie Jones

Freddie Jones (1927-2019)

Actress Diane Nickerson passed away at the age of 62 on July 11, 2019. She played Violet Beauregarde in #WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory, Amy Collins in #DarkShadows (71 episodes), & more, including playing Pamela Harris in an episode of #TheBradyBunch and as Allison in the educational comedy TV show #TheElectricCompany (130 episodes).

Denise Nickerson

Denise Nickerson (1957-2019)

Actor David Hedison has died at the age of 92 on July 18, 2019. He played Capt. Lee B. Crane in #VoyageToTheBottomOfTheSea, Ed Malone in #TheLostWorld, Andre Delambre in #TheFly (1958), Evan Robly in #WonderWoman (TV series), Frederick Flanagan in #ProjectUFO, Daniel Garman / Phillip Camden / Captain John Day / David Tabori / Karl Dixon / Claude Duncan / Carlyle Cranston in #FantasyIsland, Theodore Cooper in #KnightRider, & much more, including playing Felix Leiter in 2 James Bond films: #LiveAndLetDie & #LicenseToKill.

David Hedison

David Hedison (1927-2019)

Actor Rutger Hauer died at the age of 75 on July 19, 2019. He played Roy Batty in #BladeRunner, President of the World State Federation in #ValerianAndTheCityOfAThousandPlanets, Niall Brigant in #TrueBlood, Earle in #BatmanBegins, Morgan Edge in #Smallville, King Vortigern in #Merlin, Bog in #Lexx, Lothos in #BuffyTheVampireSlayer, Navarre in #Ladyhawke, & more.

Rutger Hauer

Rutger Hauer (1944-2019)

Actor Jeremy Kemp died at the age of 84 on July 19, 2019. He played Robert Picard (Jean-Luc’s older brother) in one of the most memorable & powerful episodes of #StarTrek #TNG, Dr. Ernst Linden in #Space1999, Hissah Zul in #Conan (TV series), & more, including playing PC Bob Steele / vagrant in the British police drama TV show “Z Cars”.

Jeremy Kemp

Jeremy Kemp (1935-2019)

August

Actress Barbara March (a.k.a., Barbara Scarfe), died on Aug. 11, 2019, at the age of 65. She played Lursa of the House of Duras in #StarTrek #TNG, #DS9, & “Star Trek VII: #Generations”; & more, including work on stage. She was also a writer.

Barbara March (a.k.a., Barbara Scarfe)

Barbara March (a.k.a., Barbara Scarfe; 1953-2019)

September

Actor Robert Axelrod has died at the age of 70 on Sept. 7, 2019. He voiced Lord Zedd in “#MightyMorphinPowerRangers: The Movie”; Lord Zedd / Finster “Might Morphin #PowerRangers” (TV series), “Power Rangers #Zeo”, “Power Rangers in Space”; Mutantrum in “Power Rangers #LostGalaxy”; Thin Man in “Power Rangers #TimeForce”; played Egrid in #StarTrek #Voyager; racially confused veteran in #TheRevenant; Shimazaki (voice) in #Akira; Frank in #AmazingStories; & more, including a lot more voice work.

Robert Axelrod (1949-2019)

Robert Axelrod (1949-2019)

Actor Aron Eisenberg at the age of 50 on Sept. 21, 2019. Born on January 6, 1969, he played Nog & a newspaper vendor in “#StarTrek #DS9”, Kar in #Voyager; Aaron in #TalesFromTheCrypt; & more.

Aron Eisenberg

Aron Eisenberg (1969-2019)

Actor Sid Haig has died at the age of 80 on Sept. 21, 2019. Born on July 14, 1939, he was best known for his work in horror, but he did perform in several #SciFi & #Fantasy works, including playing the First Lawgiver in #StarTrek #TOS (ep. #TheReturnOfTheArchons), Royal Apothecary in #Batman (1966 TV series), guard / Bruce / Turk in #GetSmart, NCH in #THX1138, Dragos in #JasonOfStarCommand, Pratt / Spirot in #BuckRogersInThe25thCentury, Otto / Harlen / Hakeem in #FantasyIsland, 1st gang member in #Automan, Swarthy Man in #MisfitsOfScience, 3rd passenger in #TheSixMillionDollarMan, the genie in #ElectraWomanAndDynaGirl, & more, including an appearance in the James Bond film #DiamondsAreForever. He also played Texas in the nighttime soap opera #MaryHartmanMaryHartman, as well as Captain Spaulding in the horror flick #HouseOf1000Corpses.

Sid Haig

Sig Haig (1939 – 2019)

Actor Jack Donner died on Sept. 21, 2019 at the age of 90. He played Romulan Subcommander Tal in #StarTrek #TOS, a Vulcan priest in #Enterprise; Commander Kinwon in “#PowerRangers in Space”; Joe in #IDreamOfJeannie; the courier in #GetSmart; master of ceremonies in #MyFavoriteMartian; man in hospital room in #GhostWhisperer; in #IDreamOfJeannie, Judge Renault in #Charmed; Morris in #TheInvisible; Clayton Wheeler in #Roswell; cleric #1 in #BuffyTheVampireSlayer (TV series); blind man in #Conan (TV series); & more.

Jack Donner

Jack Donner (1928-2019)

October

Actress & singer Diahann Carroll died at the age of 84 on Oct. 4, 2019. She played the hologram Mermeia in “The #StarWars #HolidaySpecial”, Grace Willis in #TouchedByAnAngel, & more.

Diahann Carroll

Diahann Carroll (1935-2019)

Actor Robert Forster has died at the age of 78 on Oct. 11, 2019. He played Capt. Dan Holland in #TheBlackHole, Arthur Petrelli in #Heroes, Robert Bold in #Automata, Frank Shepherd in #Intruders, Sheriff Frank Truman in #TwinPeaks (2017), Sergeant Volkom in #GhostsOfGirlfriendsPast, Yates in #Peacemaker, Gary Cooley in #TalesFromTheDarkside, & more.

Robert Forster

Robert Forster (1941-2019)

November

Actor Michael J. Pollard died at the age of 80 on Nov. 20, 2019. He played Jahn in “#StarTrek: #TOS”, the boy in #LostInSpace, Herman in #Scrooged, Aeolus in #TheOdyssey (1997 miniseries), & much more, including Bug Bailey in #DickTracy. His breakout role was playing C.W. Moss, the accomplice-turned-snitch, in the 1967 film #BonnieAndClyde that starred Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. He also played Stucky in the 2003 horror film #HouseOf1000Corpses.

Michael J. Pollard

Michael J. Pollard (1939-2019)

December

Writer & story editor D.C. Fontana died at the age of 80 on Dec. 2, 2019. She was one of the key writers who worked on “#StarTrek: #TheOriginalSeries” in the 1960s, helping to bring Gene Roddenberry’s vision to life. She also worked on later “Star Trek” TV series. A full list of her episode writing & editing credits follows:

TOS:

  • “Charlie X”
  • “Tomorrow is Yesterday“
  • “The Side of Paradise“
  • “Friday’s Child“”
  • “Journey to Babel“
  • “By Any Other Name“
  • “The Ultimate Computer“
  • “The Enterprise Incident“
  • “That Which Survives“
  • “The Way to Eden”

TAS:

  • “Yesteryear”

TNG:

  • “Encounter at Farpoint”
  • “The Naked Now”
  • “Lonely Among Us”
  • “Too Short a Season”
  • “Heart of Glory”

DS9:

  • “Dax”

She also wrote 3 episodes of #Babylon5; 2 episodes of #TheSixMillionDollarMan; 1 episode of #LandOfTheLost; 3 episodes of #LogansRun (TV series); 1 episode of #BuckRogersInThe25thCentury; 1 episode of #WarOfTheWorlds (TV series); 1 episode of #EarthFinalConflict; & much more.

D.C. Fontana

D.C. Fontana (1939 – 2019)

Actor Robert Walker, Jr. passed away at the age of 79 on Dec. 5, 2019. He played Charlie Evans in “#StarTrek: #TOS”, Cloche / Bell in #TheSixMillionDollarMan, Billy the Kid (William H. Bonney) in #TheTimeTunnel, & more.

Robert Walker, Jr.

Robert Walker, Jr. (1940-2019)

Actor René Auberjonois died at the age of 79 on Dec. 8, 2019. He played Col. West in “#StarTrek VI: #TheUndiscoveredCountry”, Odo / Douglas Pabst / Curzon Dax in #DS9, Ezral in #Enterprise; Dr. Burton in #BatmanForever; Dlavan in #TheOuterLimits; Hugo Miller in #Warehouse13; Alar in #StargateSG1; Artemus Bradford in #InspectorGadget (1999 movie); King Boris / King Ulrich in #FaerieTaleTheatre; Kimbal in #WonderWoman (TV series); Havergal in #ManFromAtlantis; Pierre Lambert in #TheBionicWoman; Bagley in #KingKing (1976); William Sharstead in #NightGallery; & much more, including voice work for many animated series. (His 1st major role was playing Father Mulcahy in the 1970 movie #MASH. He also played Paul Lewiston in the comedic crime-drama #BostonLegal alongside William Shatner.)

René Auberjonois

René Auberjonois (1940-2019)

Visionary conceptual futurist artist Syd Mead passed away on Dec. 30, 2019 at the age of 86. He worked in the art departments for a number of #SciFi & #fantasy films, including “#StarTrek: #TheMotionPicture”, #BladeRunner, #Tron, #2010, #Aliens, #Timecop, #MissionToMars, #Elysium, #Tomorrowland, #BladeRunner2049, & more.

Syd Mead

Syd Mead (1933 – 2019)

References

“The Rise of Skywalker” Debuts with $175.5 Million Domestically; Earning Less than “The Last Jedi”

#Disney’s film “#StarWars IX: #TheRiseOfSkywalker” lead the box office on its opening weekend with $175.5 million in earnings in North America. While this is the third largest December film opening of all time and the performance tops the studio’s conservative $165 million opening prediction, many (including BoxOfficeMojo) expected the film to top $200 million for the weekend. The $175.5 million in earnings is also below where expectations were only yesterday, when it appeared that the film would open anywhere from $190-195 million after Friday estimates, but earnings on Saturday were lower than expected.

The slide began following the film’s opening day, which was pretty much on par with recent “Star Wars” releases, which saw preview grosses making up 44% of the film’s opening day. However, it is the only “Star Wars” release of the five released by Disney thus far to see the Friday gross make up over 50% of the film’s total opening weekend box office earnings. This brings into question what kind of impact word of mouth will have on the film’s final gross.

A comparison of how well each of the 5 Disney “Star Wars” films has performed in opening domestic box office receipts is shown below.

Disney "Star Wars" Domestic Box Office Opening Weekends

Disney “Star Wars” Domestic Box Office Opening Weekends

Thus, for the sequel trilogy, each successive film has performed lower than the preceding film.

To estimate how well “Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker” may perform and whether it may breakeven, we investigated the multiples of the previous films, as well as how well their final earnings compared with each film’s budget.

To estimate how well “The Rise of Skywalker” may do, we based estimates on performing linear regressions on the multiples and on the worldwide grosses, as well as the reported estimate for the film’s budget, which is estimated to be between $250 to $300 million. Our estimates are that the film will likely break even and make a small profit, but far less than “The Last Jedi”.

Disney "Star Wars" Box Office Multiples

Disney “Star Wars” Box Office Multiples & Estimates

References

“Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker” Flops in China on Friday Debut

Box office numbers for “#StarWars IX: #TheRiseOfSkywalker” in China on opening weekend are so poor, that it has flopped. Total box office receipts for the film for both Thursday and Friday showings as of 8 p.m. local time were only $2.2 million; and ticketing agency Maoyon is predicting a total ticket sales throughout the country of only $18 million. This is significantly lower than how well previous Disney-era “Star Wars” films have performed in China:

  • In Jan. 2016, “Star Wars VII: #TheForceAwakens” opened in China with a $52.3 million weekend and achieved a lifetime score of $126 million.
  • “#RogueOne: A Star Wars Story” that released in Dec. 2016 with Chinese stars Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen in prominent roles, managed $30.6 million on opening and a lifetime $69.4 million.
  • In 2017, “Star Wars VIII: #TheLastJedi” slipped further, registering an opening weekend of $28.7 million and a lifetime cumulative of $42.6 million.
  • In 2018, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” bombed in China, earning only $10.1 million on its opening weekend.

In other words, the total expected box office for “The Rise of Skywalker” in China is less than the opening weekends for 3 of the previous “Star Wars” films that were released there, and is far less than “Solo”, which was a worldwide box office flop.

Currently, the film is only projected to earn $170-$200 million in North America, which would be significantly lower than both “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi”, which had opening weekends of $247,966,675 and $220,009,584 respectively.

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References